Why Book With The Society of International Railway Travelers®?

Reason #1: World’s Oldest, Most-Trusted Luxury Rail Travel Agency

A family-owned and operated business for 35 years, The Society of International Railway Travelers® (IRT)  is the world’s most respected luxury rail travel agency.

We publish the “Bible” of world luxury rail travel: The IRT Society’s Best-Loved Railway Journeys®,” backed up by a website and blog providing the latest luxury rail news. Our list of The World’s Top 25 Trains®, updated annually, is the go-to source for the latest in luxury rail travel worldwide.

We know what we sell. IRT Society owners, staff and writers have traveled millions of miles to experience the world’s luxury trains first-hand.

And because we’ve actually ridden these trains — in most cases multiple times — we can suggest just the right luxury rail trip for you:

  • best sleeping compartments
  • best dining cars
  • best time to travel
  • how and what to pack
  • what to know about luxury rail etiquette
  • how to deal with visas, currency, health issues, and more


Reason #2:Unparalleled Human-to-Human Service

Our personal service is renowned. With IRT you actually communicate with a human who cares about your vacation. We’re your trusted travel advocate.
Emergency assistance. Flight cancelled? Train delayed? You have access to our worldwide, emergency phone service 24/7.
We’re accessible. We answer the phone. If we’re busy, we get back to you ASAP.
Information. We are a font of luxury train knowledge! We tell you what time of year to travel, which visas you’ll need (and when to apply for them), what to pack, what books to read, and much, much more.
VIP treatment. We reconfirm all of your services. We unabashedly beg for complimentary extras and upgrades on your behalf. We personally call each hotel or safari camp before you arrive. We do everything in our power to ensure your VIP treatment.

Why IRT Travelers Love our Services:
“As a former ‘do-it-yourself’ travel planner, I have found IRT Society President Eleanor Hardy’s services to have streamlined and made my trips more efficient, with much richer experiences than I could have ever imagined. She and her team are worth every cent! She is accessible at all times, supportive, but does not waste anyone’s time. Truly a highly trained and practiced professional! She has been there and done that with firsthand experience of the trips she sells and plans.”
-IRT Traveler T. Gournay, Fall 2016, Rovos Rail: African Collage

“I have been fortunate to travel quite a lot during my lifetime. In all respects, IRT Vice President Angela Walker was the very best travel agent we have ever used. She helped us not only plan our trip, but help guide us through the complicated issues of getting visas for the various countries in Central Asia and Russia. Angela was always able to cut through the red tape and get any problem solved. Her good humor and helpful attitude made all of our planning more pleasant. She even had a bottle of champagne delivered to our train compartment before we left Armenia. I would give Angela ten stars as a Virtuoso travel consultant.”
IRT Traveler M. Lane, Fall 2015, Golden Eagle: Caspian Odyssey

Reason #3: Virtuoso Membership

We are members of Virtuoso, the world’s premier luxury and experiential travel network. Virtuoso comprises the top travel agencies and the finest travel suppliers worldwide.

What does that mean for you?
• Special amenities and upgrades in partner hotels and resorts
• Access to the most exclusive sightseeing and travel experiences in the world: tour the Vatican after hours with a private guide, indulge in a romantic safari dinner for two prepared by a private chef in the Maasai Mara, enjoy an unforgettable dawn balloon ride over the Bagan temple complex in Myanmar, and so much more
• The most exciting “off-the-beaten-track” active and adventure travel: walking, biking, and hiking tours, expeditions to remote destinations, safaris
• An unrivaled support network for you provided by our worldwide travel partners, backed by years of established trust and personal relationships. We not only know what we sell – we make it our business to know everyone involved in your travel experience.

Just a few of our partners:
• Belmond Trains & Cruises
• Micato Safaris
• Rovos Rail
• Golden Eagle Luxury Trains
• Abercrombie & Kent worldwide
• Tauck Tours
• Remote Lands
• Big Five Tours & Expeditions
• Four Seasons Hotels
• Mandarin Oriental Hotels
• Belmond Hotels
• International Expeditions
• Lindblad Expeditions
• National Geographic Expeditions

Press for The Society of International Railway Travelers

7 Reasons You Should be Selling Train Vacations – Travel Weekly, February 10, 2020 

-All Aboard for a Train Adventure in Retirement – Kiplinger’s Volume 26, Number 4, April 2019

-IRT Traveler Tree Lockie on why she travels — and why IRT President Eleanor Hardy is the only one she’ll trust to plan her journeys — Virtuoso Life, July/August 2018

-Owen & Eleanor Hardy discuss luxury rail travel in Virtuoso Life, January/February 2017

-Eleanor Hardy interviewed by the New York Times, “How to get the Most out of a Vacation by Train,” November 29, 2016

-Eleanor Hardy discusses the Rocky Mountaineer in Virtuoso Traveler, August/September 2016

-Owen Hardy discusses the Kyushu Seven Stars luxury train in Virtuoso Life, May/June 2016

-Eleanor Hardy interviewed by Travel + Leisure, “The World’s Fanciest Sleeper Cars,” July/August 2014

-Eleanor Hardy discusses the Eastern & Oriental Express in Virtuoso Traveler, December 2014

-Eleanor Hardy discusses the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express in Virtuoso Life, July/August 2015

-Eleanor Hardy shares travel tips in Virtuoso Life, July/August 2012

-Eleanor & Owen Hardy discuss the Royal Scotsman, Blue Train, Eastern & Oriental Express, and the Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express in Virtuoso Traveler, April/May 2012

Awards for The Society of International Railway Travelers

The Society of IRT is proud to have been recognized 26 times by the prestigious Travel Weekly Magellan Awards. The Travel Weekly Magellan Awards honor the best in travel design, marketing, and services. Click here for more information.

2018, Gold: Web-Marketing/Advertising, “(Fast)-Tracking the World’s Top 25”
2018, Silver: Website, “Not Just the Facts, Ma’am”
2018, Silver: Print Advertising, “Weighty & Wonderful”
2017, Gold: Web Marketing, “Nothing Fake About this News”
2017, Gold: Direct Mail, “Picture Perfect Postcards”
2016, Gold: Marketing / Website
2016, Gold: Web Marketing / Advertising
2016, Gold: Marketing Campaign, “Seven Stars over Japan”
2016, Silver: Direct Mail Marketing, “Cruise Train Seven Stars”
2015, Gold: Direct Mail Marketing, “Postcard Dreams”
2015, Silver: Print Advertising, “Best-Loved Railway Journeys
2012, Gold: Print Advertising, “Best-Loved Railway Journeys 2012
2012, Gold: Direct Mail Marketing, “Postcard Dreams”
2012, Gold: Promotional Video, “Royal Scotsman Reverie”
2012, Silver: Marketing / Website
2012, Silver: Best Client Newsletter, “Track 25: Luxury Rail News
2011, Gold: Marketing / Website
2011, Gold: Print Advertising, “Best-Loved Railway Journeys
2011, Gold: Best Client Newsletter, “Track 25: Luxury Rail News
2011, Silver: Print Advertising, “World’s Top 25 Trains” Ad
2010, Gold: Marketing / Website
2010, Gold: Direct Mail Marketing, IRT Posters & Postcards
2010, Gold: Best Client Newsletter, IRT Magazine
2010, Silver: Print Advertising, “Best-Loved Railway Journeys
2009, Gold:  Print Advertising, “Best-Loved Railway Journeys 2009
2008, Silver: Best Client Newsletter, IRT Magazine

Eleanor & Owen Hardy on train
Society of IRT owners Owen and Eleanor Hardy on The Danube Express.

IRT Celebrates Diversity
The Society of International Railway Travelers® is committed to fostering a sense of tolerance, understanding and mutual respect among our travelers, train staff and all others we may encounter. We welcome travelers regardless of race, religion, color, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or age. To this end, the Society of IRT reserves the right to deny services to anyone incapable of maintaining a courteous and tolerant attitude with respect to IRT staff, fellow passengers and crew, and all other persons with whom we may come in contact.

California Seller of Travel #2139952-40; Florida Seller of Travel #ST42020; Iowa Certificate of Travel #1563; Washington State Seller of Travel #604397185


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